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Does the Military Accept Felons?

Our past is always haunting us. This is why it is advisable for us to stay out of trouble by all means. Past criminal convictions are a hindrance to future opportunities. Availability of databases for our criminal records allows prospective employers to access all your past criminal records. This is why as a felon you may find yourself stranded during the search for an employment opportunity.

Most employers in the private sector and the public sector are continually improving the recruitment requirements. This is allowing more felons to get employed in different sectors. The military, for example, has a specific procedure for accommodating some felonies.

This article explores the situations in which the military accepts felons within their ranks.

Waivers Allow Felons to Become Army Enlistees

As aforementioned, more felons are getting enlisted in the military today. Enlisting of recruits into the army is not guaranteed or assured to anyone. Failure of getting enlisted based on your past felonies should hence not be taken negatively.

The number of volunteers from the law abiding citizens applying to join the army has reduced tremendously. To fill the available slots, the military has introduced different types of waivers to take care of the numbers.

Former convicts are taking advantage of this opportunity to get enlisted into the military service. This has seen a tremendous increase in the number of felons enlisted in the army and other military departments.

Types of Waivers

The need for more recruits into the military has pushed for the introduction of more waivers. Listed below are some waivers enjoyed by felons enlisting for the army.

i. Dependent Waiver

During the enlisting process, military agencies consider an applicant’s dependency status. As an applicant, having two or more dependents under your custody is most likely to hinder you from getting enlisted. Married and unmarried applicants having custody of any dependents below the age of 18 are most likely to be denied entry into the army.

The government realized that this policy is locking out more candidates who are willing and can diligently serve from serving. Several systems have since been introduced to accommodate the applicants who are willing and able to serve efficiently in the military service. This includes the married and unmarried felons having dependents under their custody.

ii. Medical Waiver

The military agencies have strict outlined medical standards to be followed during the recruitment process. All applicants go through an extensive medical screening process. The comprehensive screening process is geared towards identifying any medical or mental condition that fails to meet the set medical standards of the army.

Failure to meet the set medical standards may call for the need for a medical waiver. Applicants will receive special considerations for a medical waiver depending on specific qualifications. Some medical conditions which are not so severe may also get waivered to allow the enlistment of more recruits into the service.

iii. Drugs Waiver

The military discourages drugs and alcohol use and dependence by all terms possible. Fresh recruits are therefore extensively screened for any evidence of a history of drug abuse. A history of alcohol and drug abuse provides sufficient grounds for an applicant’s disqualification.

Special considerations are however made to accommodate more felons who have decided to stay clean. Applicants with a drug and alcohol abuse history are more likely to get recruited if they prove to have exceptional skills required by the relevant recruiting military departments.

iv. Conduct Waiver

Most felony charges do not disappear and are always available to prospective employers. For example the army. Applicants to the military are subjected to an extensive background check. The background check is geared towards minimizing the enlistment of recruits likely to pose security threats. Background checks also reduce the cases of disorder and contempt of authority.

The military considers the enlistment of some felons. Considerations are made on specific parameters depending on the individual applicant. Further considerations are made depending on the type of offenses previously committed and your character in the period after your felony charges. Most felons need a conduct waiver to be part of the military.

To enjoy any of the types of waivers mentioned above, you will need to make a further application for the exemption. Most waiver requests are accepted while others are rejected based on various individual applicant’s details. The military also considers its current needs and future needs before considering a waiver request.

Offenses that Can be Waived

The army has a different for the definitions of minor crimes. Below are some of the crimes that can be easily waived to allow felons to give back to society.

a) Misdemeanor Offenses

Most people do overlook the future consequences of misdemeanor offenses for example possession of stolen property or prostitution for they may not result in jail terms. The misdemeanor cases may hinder one from getting recruited into the military.

Felons who have had up to four civil convictions in the past are at a better position to enjoy the waiver. You will need to request a waiver. The military has a slightly different definition and classification for misdemeanor cases.

b) Minor non-traffic offenses

The military uses its specific list to determine which crimes are minor nontraffic offenses. Felons applying for the available posts are background checked for any prior minor non- traffic offenses, for example, being drunk and disorderly.

Applicants having less than three minor non-traffic convictions are easily considered for the available slots. Special considerations may be made depending on the prevailing requirements of the military and the individual applicant

c) Felony Charges

Previous felony charges may hinder you from getting conscripted into the army. The felony charges range from physical threats and harm to others to fraudulent cases. A single felony charge is enough to reason for the military to deny you a waiver. The military has the right to discredit any application based on the degree of your previous felony charges. Since some felony charges may be waivered, feel free to make a waiver application to the relevant military ranks.

d) Minor Traffic Offences

Under which circumstances does the military accept felons with traffic offenses? The military recruitment process digs deep into your traffic offenses. The army has its specific checklist for minor and major traffic offenses. Applicants whose records contain six or more previous minor traffic offenses with a payable fine of $100 or more for each offense are eligible to receive a conduct waiver. As an affected felon, you are allowed to apply for a waiver.

e) A Combination of misdemeanor and minor offenses

Other felons have previously been convicted for two or more of the above mentioned offenses. Convictions for three or more of a misdemeanor and non-traffic offenses in the past hinder you from getting enlisted into the military. All felons with a combination of a misdemeanor or minor non-traffic convictions in the past are allowed to apply for a conduct waiver.

Offenses that Cannot be Waived

Listed below are some of the offenses that are not subject to a waiver no matter the situation

1) A conviction of three or more non-traffic offenses. Having a record of more than three civil convictions subjects you to the denial of a conduct waiver.

2) A history of use and dependence on drugs and alcohol. Any applicant whose records show that they are dependents of alcohol, marijuana, and other hard drugs for example cocaine are denied a waiver.

3) The Intoxication, possession, and use of drugs during the enlistment process. This automatically attracts disqualification from the recruitment. Rejection on these grounds denies the applicant the chance to apply for a waiver.

4) Previous convictions of the possession and distribution of controlled substances. Felons who were previously convicted of possessing and distributing controlled substances like marijuana and cocaine are locked out of the military.

5) Having five or more previous misdemeanor convictions. Five or more misdemeanor convictions preceding your application will prevent you from getting a waiver. Special considerations are made to accommodate the misdemeanor offenses committed during the juvenile age.

6) Driving while under the influence. Three or more past convictions for driving under the influence within five years preceding your application will deny you clearance into the military.

The Reason the Army is Issuing More Waivers Today

There is a tremendous decline in the numbers of volunteers who are enlisting into the military. The army has therefore resorted to adverse measures to register more recruits for example waivers. More waivers have been issued to felons to maintain the required number of the army soldiers. The enlisting of more felons give them a second chance to become better members of society while correcting their past mistakes.


Serving in the military is not a right but rather an extraordinary reserved privilege for a few. Every single military branch is mandated to reject an applicant on the bases of its set criterion. The criterion for accepting the military applicants is somewhat confusing. To increase your chances of joining the army as a felon, you will need to consult a recruiter to explain your probable plight. You are advised to be honest and open as much as possible about your felony convictions. If you fail to get recruited, stay positive, keep your head up, and serve the nation in any other positive way possible. Most importantly, stay out of trouble.

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